Wild West Sam

4/4/1973 - 3/27/1974 TV series 52 episodes Tokyo Movie Shinsha/Fuji TV
#1: Burn! Sun Boy
#6: Big Stone's First Appearance
Director: Yoshida Mochitsugu
Written by: Suzuki Yoshitake, Yamazaki Haruchika, Itô Kôji, Inoue Satoshi, Kaneko Yutaka, Matsuzaki Yukio
Storyboard: Hata Masami, Mikuriya Kyôsuke, Okabe Eiji, Kuroda Yoshio, Yoshikawa Sôji, Imazawa Tetsuo, Takahata Isao (15, 18), Koizumi Kenzô, Nakamura Tadashi
Episode directors: Mikuryia Kyôsuke, Arata Yoshikata, Original Work: Kawasaki Noboru and Yamakawa Sôji
Animation directors: Kanishi Takao, Murata Kôichi, Kawauchi Hideo, Araki Shingo, Koizumi Kenzô, Kimura Keiichi
Possibly the only Western anime TV series (there's also the movie Puss 'n Boots II), this series tells the story of a boy raised by a gang of outlaw gunmen who are notorious killers, and who gradually rebels against them out of refusal to do evil.

Having seen the first four episodes, I found there to be a tangible difference between the first episode and the other three. Part of this is accountable to the common practice of pulling out all the stops in the first episode, using more cels and generally producing an episode of higher quality than the rest of the series so as to pull in the the viewers. However, the pacing of each scene and the framing of the shots (using a lot of Eisensteinian montage close-ups) in episode 1 are impeccably handled and acheive a truly powerful dramatic effect, something which the next few episodes do not do. Hata's storyboard undoubtedly helped in large part to produce this episode's unique impact. (I haven't seen episode 6)

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